The Erotic (Writing) Education of Hazel Hughes


When I was in teachers’ college many moons ago, there was a catchphrase the professors kept drilling into us which really got my hackles up.

Lifelong learner.

We were charged with molding our students into lifelong learners. But more than that, we had to become them, too.

Annoying alliteration aside, it was the concept that bothered me. That I always had more to learn. That I would remain a student forever. That I could always know more, do better. That I, essentially, would never, ever be good enough.

At the time I was planning my wedding on top of putting in ten-hour days in the classroom and spending my evenings and weekends preparing lessons, grading, doing assignments, and building sets for a middle school production of Little Shop of Horrors (Who thought that was a good idea?Sexual innuendos much?).

I barely had time to do my laundry. The thought of taking workshops with names like Literacy and the Inclusive Classroom and Statistics: A Hands-On Approach didn’t thrill me, to say the least.

Homework for life? No, thanks.

Fast forward several years and things have changed. I still barely have time to do my laundry. But I’ve kind of done a 180 on the alliteration thing. And on the idea of being a lifelong learner.

The key, I’ve discovered, is passion.

When you are fascinated by something, learning about it isn’t work. It’s play.

That’s why I’ve taken more courses and workshops in the past few years than I did during my entire teaching career, and I took my fair share of those.

The courses’ names are a little different. Keeping it Hot: Social Media for Erotic Romance Writers, for example. Or the one I’m taking now, Burning Ink, with NY Times bestseller Angela Knight at the helm.

Sure, I’m a published author. One of my books has even been short-listed for an award. But that’s nothing compared to some of my classmates’ accomplishments. Even though many of us could be considered experts at what we do, we’re all still learning.

And I’m pretty sure I’m going to be doing it – happily – for life.

*Are you a romance writer? I can’t recommend the workshops offered by RWA and Passionate Ink (the erotic romance chapter of RWA), enough. Inexpensive – or even free – for members, the workshops are lead by established romance authors and attendees run the gamut, from rookies to multi-published authors. Check them out here

Virtually Ecstatic

happy book

I love it when I open up my email in the morning and there, buried among the updates I can’t remember signing up for and urgent invitations to spend money, is a jewel, a golden nugget, a genuinely juicy piece of virtual mail. .

Like today, when I opened my inbox to find the entries I’ll be judging for the Passionate Plume Contest. I signed up to be a judge so long ago, I’d almost forgotten about it. But Holley Trent, Passionate Ink’s Vice President and the coordinator of the contest didn’t. She sent me two tidy little digital packets of erotic romance goodness to read, enjoy and evaluate.

I’ve got a million things to check off my to-do list before I settle in to read them, but like a little kid left alone with brightly wrapped presents under the Christmas tree, I couldn’t resist taking a tiny peek.

Big mistake.

I don’t really need to get that chapter written, do I? Or tackle that pile of laundry that has grown so large and unruly it seems to be developing a personality? That can wait. Same with the empty fridge. Canned beans count as a vegetable, I’m pretty sure. And when you’re a romance writer, any romance reading you do is research, right?

Fellow Passionate Ink members, if you’re a competitor in the the contest, I wish you the best of luck. And if you’re a judge? Same. Choosing a winner is not going to be easy.

I know you can’t judge a book by its cover. Or its blurb. Or its first page (Okay, chapter. I admit it. I’ve got a reading problem.). But they do give you some idea of what to expect. If the quality of submissions matches what I’ve read so far, we Passionate Plume judges are going to have a hard time narrowing it down.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some reading, I mean laundry to do.